Smelly urine - NHS

Skip to main content

Smelly urine

Smelly pee on its own is not usually a cause for concern. There are often things you can do to help your pee return to normal.

Common causes of smelly pee

Pee is usually clear or pale yellow, with a mild smell.

Common things that can make your pee smell stronger include:

  • certain types of food and drink, like asparagus or coffee
  • being dehydrated
  • some medicines
  • vitamin B6 supplements

Things you can do yourself

Try these things to help keep your pee clear and smelling mild.


  • drink plenty of fluids, particularly water or squash – drink more in hot weather and when exercising


  • do not drink a lot of coffee or alcohol
  • do not eat garlic or asparagus – they contain strong-smelling chemicals that can pass into your pee
  • do not take more than 10mg of vitamin B6 a day

Non-urgent advice: See a GP if you have smelly pee and:

  • you need to pee suddenly, or more often than usual
  • you have pain or a burning sensation when peeing
  • there's blood in your pee
  • you have lower tummy pain
  • you feel tired and unwell
  • you're feeling confused or agitated

These may be symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI).


Coronavirus update: how to contact a GP

It's still important to get help from a GP if you need it. To contact your GP surgery:

  • visit their website
  • use the NHS App
  • call them

Find out about using the NHS during coronavirus

Less common causes of smelly pee

Other symptoms you have might give you an idea of what's causing your pee to smell. But do not self-diagnose – always see a GP.

Symptoms Possible cause
Feeling very thirsty and tired, peeing more than usual, sweet-smelling pee type 2 diabetes
Lower back pain, pain when peeing, blood in pee kidney stones
Yellow skin and eyes (jaundice), tummy pain, nausea and vomiting liver failure

Page last reviewed: 16 October 2017
Next review due: 16 October 2020